Happy 4th of July, have a safe (watch out for those newly legalized personal fireworks-play safe) and keep hydrated.  It’s going to be hot tomorrow.

OK, I will up my game on patriotic decorations before Labor Day.  Stop your whining.  🙂

I’d been with Blue Host as my hosting company for a number of years now.  They claimed I had malware on my website and notified me around 7 pm on a Friday night.  Most businesses are closed by then. The rep I was speaking with told me I needed to use an associate business of their’s Site Lock to protect my site.  In my panic to keep my site active I agreed to it and agreed to their $100 fee.  As I was speaking with the Blue Host rep, Site Lock called me on my business line (I was using the phone on my desk for Blue Host) and couldn’t maintain two separate conversations.  I told Site Lock to call me back and finished dealing with Blue Host.  When I finished with Blue Host and Site Lock called me back, he said that was what he was trying to tell me when he called me, the $100 package would not fix my current problem, I needed to buy their enhanced product at 10x the fee.  They were unable to get my site back up and my web guy Nick go involved Monday morning and got my site back up.  When I was speaking with Site Lock I asked about the malware, one of the things he mentioned I recall being that a site related to the Lost Boys of Sudan.  I know one of them through my sister and spoke about his ordeal in my blog several years ago and that he book a wrote.  First of all I recall doing some research on the Lost Boys and that was almost 5 years ago and they discover this malware on a Friday night at 7 pm and force me to buy a product of one of their associates to no avail.  Second, if it’s malware, Blue Host has the ability and skill to remove it, at that level it can all be automated.  When I spoke with Nick later in the week he said this wasn’t the first time he’d have problems with Blue Host and suggested we move the hosting to Go Daddy.  There were some glitches last night and today, but it seems to be going through OK.

One of my early blogs I made an observation of something I had seen in Florida.  I noticed when a city was doing road work, the city contacted the utility companies to coordinate replacing aging pipes when they were rebuilding the streets.  First of all, it is cost effective to have both the water, sewer and gas lines replaced when the road is torn up and holes dug.  There had never been any coordination I saw here in Pittsburgh like that.  I did make that recommendation to PWSA twice and my idea for changing the way storm water catch basins are installed.  I got this idea when the state was ripping out Western Avenue and replacing the street.  They also replaced the storm water catch basins on the street with new ones.  The hole was dug, gravel dumped in the hole and I thought what a great idea, have some of the storm water percolate down into the ground instead of all it going into the sewer system.  After the gravel was tamped down, they put a new cement box where the inlet from the street kept the storm water in the cement box and sent it all into the sewer system.  Of course PWSA totally ignored me.  Now that we have new people running it, maybe I should see if someone will listen to me this time.  The reason for this narrative is there is a current controversy over Peoples gas wants to create a partnership of some sort with PWSA.  I think that’s a great idea, if our elected officials can get their act together, to insure our interests are maintained.  I am totally against privatizing the water system.  But since Peoples is gearing up for a massive gas line replacement project, why not do them both at the same time?  The city attorneys should draft a binding agreement that limits the agreement to infrastructure.

Northside turned out in mass last Tuesday for the meeting with Norfolk Southern railway.  We needed to connect the country in the mid 1800’s so the government got involved with getting rail lines across the country.  That was a good thing, but doesn’t mean it needs to continue.  I think the government needs involved with subsidizing mass transit, but not commercial transsportation.  We need mass transit for a number of reason.  Number obviously greenhouse gases emitted by cars.  Also most users of mass transit are lower income.  That doesn’t mean we should continue subsidizing a major corporation.  If the rail systems can’t exist without government subsidies they should go the way of buggy manufacturers.  The rail industry lobbies got a regulation past a number of years ago requiring when capital expenditures are made for things like replacing bridges, they want them high enough so the rail lines can run double stacked cars.  Maybe profits aren’t doubled on double stacked cars, but they certainly are higher than single stacked cars.  There are 14 bridges along Norfolk’s line that runs through my neighborhood and the Commons, the oldest park in Allegheny County.  The rail line was installed back when the government was more interested in the wants and needs of it’s citizen than of big business than they seem to today.  They granted the rail lines a route through the commons on the condition that it be below grade.  Now they want me to pay the lions share to raise the bridges so they can double stack the cars.  Which means they are no longer below grade.  There is an option other than raising the bridges, they could lower the tracks and achieve the same end result.  At the meeting, a local resident Greg Olcrest, a retired attorney who is active in trying to restore the Commons spoke about several things.  One of the things he talked about and I was unaware of is that there are HUGE brick water/sewer lines that were install before the tracks were originally laid.  The weight of the double stacked trains have a good possibility of cracking these 100+ year old utility lines.  Norfolk Southern also wants to increase the number of trains scheduled from 20 25 per day to 40 to 50 trains per day.  Luckily they don’t permit trains transporting Marcellus oil product to be double stacked.  Even at single stacked I don’t my neighborhood to end up like that town in Quebec a few years ago!  Accidents happen, more so when corporate profits are at risk.

I wrote the above a few days ago and our elected and other government employees seem to be listening to us.  Mayor Peduto has weighted in that he wants other options explored. As has our State Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards and state Reb Jake Wheatley.  Norfolk’s VP of government relations Rudy Husband said the lowering the tracks would be cost prohibitive (because they would have to pay for it themselves).  🙂

Are you an instillational artist?  Then Pittsburgh is looking for you.  Pittsburgh is looking for art to install in six of it’s city parks, they are calling it Art in Parks and plan on moving the installations between the parks periodically.  Follow the link if you would like more info on what they are looking for.

Government can work, that massive landslide that closed down Route 30 in East Pittsburgh April 7 has been fixed already and the road is re-opened.

A bunch of rare books and other rare items were discovered missing last summer.  Missing are 314 items valued at around $8M.  The finally announced they found the culprits, it was the curator and a book store owner.  They have recovered a number of items and working on tracking down the stuff still missing.

How about them finding those young soccer players in Thailand that were lost in those caves.  As of today, the kids are still stuck in the cave, but they are located and the rescuers are able to provide food, water and some dry cloths.  Sometimes, things work out well.  Thank you rescuers for not giving up!

That’s it for today, keep hydrated (I had 6 16 ounce glasses of ice water today myself),